Earlier this week, I referenced writer Steven Pressfield. In the preface of his every-writer-should-read-this-book book, The War of Art, he tosses this theory at the reader: “It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.” I’m inclined to agree.
Here I am, on a beautiful sunny day, cooped-up in my home office, grading a final batch of essays so I can enter semester grades. I should be outside on my patio, reading a book for research. I should be at my laptop, writing the rest of my current screenplay project’s Act II. I should be editing a short story to send off to a magazine.
But I’m not. And I don’t blame the essays I’m grading, I blame the way I handle my approach to writing. It doesn’t take much to hold one back from what should truly be important. I can’t write now – I have to clean the house, and that means at least the office, maybe the kitchen, and there’s nothing wrong with actually making the bed every now and then. I can’t write now – I have to run an errand, and another one, maybe pop in next door, too. I can’t write now – I have to feed the fish, then watch them, then readjust the gravel at the bottom of the tank, and really, when was the last time I cleaned the tank, you know it’s probably due for a good cleaning, and maybe I’ll treat myself to a new fish today, so I’d better get to Sea Level and pick up some more platys.
What if a writer told themselves this, instead: I can’t clean the house now – I’m in the middle of a chapter, and it’s flowing so well, and this character needs my attention, better tie their relationship to this location, and there’s a magnificent verb, and I better make sure I finish another ten pages before I do anything else.
Now that’s the attitude of a professional. At least, the attitude a professional may wish they had.
[tags]writing approach, professional attitude, steven pressfield[/tags]